The TT-303 is one of a wave of recent clones of the one of the most famous synthesizers of all time, the Roland TB-303. One thing that really distinguishes this one, is that it looks nearly exactly the same as the original. There is a cool nostalgia factor because of that but, of course, it’s really what’s under the hood that counts.
Well, I will preface this “review” by saying that, while I have always been into acid techno, I am by no means an expert on the technical side of things. And I’ve also never laid hands on an original TB-303. So I read a lot before I decided on this clone instead of, say, the X0xb0x. In my research of the different options, I read through a ton of information online from some great minds who have broken the sound down to the very transistors. Much of that is beyond me and my hat goes off to the people who are that passionate and knowledgeable about the topic. But what I took away from most of the reading I did is that the TT-303 gets very, very close to the sound of the original but is little less liquid when the resonance is cranked up. Research this for yourself, if for no other reason than it is extremely fascinating and enlightening.
In my own, less technical opinion? I love it and it is definitely close enough for me. I love the look of it, I love the sound of it and I love that I can now sit for hours and tweak away without spending $2500 on the O.G. I have to say, the build does feel rather cheap, but then, the original TB was made of plastic too, so maybe not that far off. In any case, it probably won’t leave my house so I’m not terribly worried about that. It’s very cool that it has CV/gate I/O and it does have midi I/O with the bundled adapter. The sequencer took a couple of hours of getting used to but now I’m zipping around on it quite easily. While some people may be above the “InstaDJOS” preset generator (or whatever it’s called), I think it’s fucking great! It comes up with things you might have never thought of and you can freely save those bits into a pattern for playback or to edit further. I’ve been having a great time just grabbing cool little loops and snippets on my SP-808 so I can fire them off later.
Added bonus? My 4 year old boy loves the acid! I let him put my headphones on a played a few random patterns for him and he went absolutely apeshit. 🙂